La MaMa to Honor Philip J. Smith and Robert E. Wankel, 6/24


La MaMa will wrap up its 50th anniversary season with a its LA MAMA 50 BIG BASH on Sunday, June 24th with an evening of performances emceed by longtime La MaMa artist Andre DeShields at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place in Manhattan), it has been announced by Mia Yoo, Artistic Director of La MaMa, and Frank Carucci, President of the La MaMa Board of Directors. LA MAMA 50 BIG BASH begins at 6:00 p.m.

Guests of honor at the event will be Philip J. Smith and Robert E. Wankel, Co-Chief Executive Officers of The Shubert Organization, who will be presented with the Silver Bell Award in appreciation of The Shubert Organization's longstanding support of La MaMa and the theater community-at-large. The Shubert Organization has been a leading supporter of La MaMa throughout the theater's 50-year history, dating back to 1961 when the late Ellen Stewart founded La MaMa in the East Village.

The LA MAMA 50 BIG BASH will be co-chaired by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, the Tony Award-winning composers of the musical "Hairspray," themselves alums of La MaMa. Tony winner Michael Mayer ("Spring Awakening," "American Idiot") will direct.

Among the La MaMa artists expected to perform at LA MAMA 50 BIG BASH are Tony winner Bill Irwin ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"), Adrian Bailey ("The Little Mermaid"), Everett Quinton ("The Mystery of Irma Vep") and renowned composer Tan Dun.

One of the highlights of the event will be a performance from "La MaMa Cantata," a musical work about the life and times of Ellen Stewart, created by the Tony Award-winning composer and longtime La MaMa artist Elizabeth Swados ("Runaways").

"La MaMa Cantata" was one of the Signature Productions of La MaMa's 50th anniversary season, which began in October 2011 with a Street Party to celebrate the official renaming of the block of East 4th St. that La MaMa calls home, "Ellen Stewart Way." Among the other productions that have been presented during La MaMa's 50th Homecomings Season: Ping Chong's "The Angels of Swedenborg," John Jesurun's "Stopped Bridge of Dreams," The Talking Band's "Hot Lunch Apostles," and the upcoming "Jukebox Jackie" based on the works of the late playwright/performer Jackie Curtis.

LA MAMA 50 BIG BASH will be held Sunday, June 24 at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 La Guardia Place). The evening begins at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by a post-show reception.

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